With the Taurus Mountains for a backdrop and the Mediterranean Sea front and centre, the Antalya area’s lucked out in the scenery stakes. The Karain Cave – once believed to be home to Neanderthal dwellers – dates back up to 200,000 years. Capping it all off is the Manavgat Waterfall – this natural wonder’s such a crowd-pleaser that it was once pictured on Turkish banknotes.
Bodrum splits its attention between age-old sites and modern additions. At one end of the scale, there’s the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus – one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – the Castle of St Peter, and an immaculately kept Roman open-air theatre. Ships, sea life and sunken artefacts are on display at the Museum of Underwater Archaeology. The party-seeking crowd, meanwhile, have lively nightlife to look forward to. They can add a floating beach club, steamy mud baths and the famous Bar Street to their to-do list.
The Dalaman Area sits in a crescent-shaped scoop of Turkey’s south-west coast. Thanks to its bright blue waters and heart-eyes-emoji-worthy beaches, it’s known as the Turquoise Coast. Icmeler and Sarigerme put their sand-smothered swathes in the spotlight. The beach at Icmeler’s a sweep of golden sand, kitted out for watersports and sunbathing alike. Sarigerme, meanwhile, is on the site of an ancient city, Pilsilis. These days, though, it’s got its own national-park-protected ribbon of sand.
Izmir’s put in the hard yards to reinvent itself over the years, and the result’s a city that flits between historic and modern themes. Konak Square’s a bit of a throwback, with a century-old clocktower, the Yali Mosque and an opera house dotted around it. Crowds of people flock here for photos, and there’s a bit of overspill from the whopping Kemeralti market around the corner. The waterfront promenade’s like hitting fast forward, as contemporary restaurants and swish apartment buildings line its sides.